Alva Review-Courier -

Candidate Profile: Blake Jordan

Running for Alva City Council, Ward 4

 

March 28, 2021

I am Blake Jordan, and I am running for City Council in Alva. I am an Alva native, born and raised, and have a family history in Alva dating back five generations to the Oklahoma Land Run. I graduated from Alva High School, attended Northwest Technology Center and Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU) before getting my degree in psychology and computer science from Southern Nazarene University (SNU).

I met my incredible wife, Nissi, while attending SNU and fell in love at first sight. We moved back to Alva, where Nissi graduated as a registered nurse (RN) from NWOSU, and we began working with my family, who own and operate Beadles Nursing Home. Nissi and I married and soon after had two beautiful children, Leo and Theo, whom I adore.

I am an active member of the Alva Church of the Nazarene and serve as a board member and secretary of the church board. Ultimately, my faith led me back to the nursing home to be with those who may need a little assistance, be it with the residents of the nursing home or the employees.

I have worked at Beadles Nursing Home officially for nine years but grew up in the nursing home. As a child, I would "help" my grandmother Emma Jordan, the administrator, with her paperwork or various tasks around the building. After graduating from college, I returned to the nursing home and wanted to learn every aspect of each department. I started by working in the nursing department as a certified nurse and medication aide. I then took on roles in the maintenance and IT department, worked in the dietary department as a dishwasher, cook, and supervisor, then to the financial office. During that time, I had the blessing to be mentored by both of my parents, Adam and Dayna Jordan. This past year, I became a licensed nursing home administrator and now have the privilege to work with my dad.

As an administrator at Beadles Nursing Home, I have experience in management, budgeting and finance. For the past seven years, I have worked in the business office mainly as the bookkeeper for the nursing home, and I record and maintain the financial transactions. I oversee and reconcile hundreds of financial transactions and would be able to apply this to the city's budget directly and help the city to be accountable.

As a nursing home administrator, I have to stay up to date with current laws and regulations made by the federal, state, and local governments. If I learn of any new rules, if there is a new technology, or if we have identified a problem, I write policies and procedures to guide our facility into compliance or better standards. This requires me to research the best practices, collaborate with my staff and our medical team, implement it in the facility, and evaluate the new program's results to see if we were successful in fulfilling the need. I am more than prepared to review, modify, or enact city ordinances and have already discussed a few with our city manager that need to be changed.

I also wear the hat of the emergency and disaster preparedness coordinator at the nursing home. I am writing this as the winter storm has finally passed, and I am in the process of writing an after-action report for the nursing home that includes analyzing the response we took, our strengths, and potential areas of improvement. Once we heard the temperatures were forecast to be below freezing for a whole week, we took measures to shelter in place. In the past, a winter storm in Alva has affected electricity, water has been an issue, and our usual food deliveries were delayed as highways became dangerous. We prepared for these issues well in advance by stocking up on food, water, testing our generators, and staying in contact with our regional emergency management team. I would be able to do the same with the city by collaborating with our city leadership, the county and regional manager, Alva businesses, and citizens, ensuring we have a plan in place to keep us safe from potential emergency events.

One of the most critical responsibilities of a nursing home administrator is meeting and listening to the residents and the employees. I look after 150 people regularly at the nursing home, which includes residents and staff, and communicate important changes or updates to family members of residents. Communication is vital in any organization, especially when rules and guidelines from the government change from day to day during times of COVID-19. Even when we make mistakes at the nursing home, we need to be honest and transparent as it is just the right thing to do. If people trust us with their families, they have a right to know what is happening, good or bad.

I will work the same way with city residents and employees, where I will be transparent and honest in happenings with the city. I will be willing to listen to city employees and make changes that work not just on paper, where we sometimes write a policy and forget about it, but create something meaningful that can be of use to everyone.

For a rural city like Alva, we offer more to our community than I know of compared to others our size. On the education side, we have an excellent, community-supported public school system, a great public library with a lot to offer, a technology center that provides career opportunities and engaging classes, and a university that has received national recognition. One of my children is in school now, and I know that he is not only being engaged in learning but is also being looked after by educators I know and trust. Growing up as a Goldbug myself, I know that many of the opportunities I had as a student would not have been possible anywhere else.

On the recreational side, Alva has two parks that I get to enjoy with my children. We have the Alva Recreation Complex that would make other towns jealous, the JR Holder Wellness Center for any fitness need, and the Graceful Arts Gallery with their classes and art walks. The Rialto is excellent for an evening movie and the Cherokee Strip Museum for seeing our city's history. A little outside Alva, we have the Menagerie that we can visit to see some great animals. We also have numerous events around town that I enjoy with my family, like the Easter Egg Hunt and Egg Drop, the Car Show, and the Fourth of July weekend.

Most notably is the supportive and giving nature of the people of Alva. I lived four years in Oklahoma City, and there is a stark difference between the interaction I had between people here and in OKC. I recently witnessed the fundraiser for Kayla's Kindness Project Dinner, and even after they had sold out, I saw a massive line of cars still donating. Everywhere I look, people are giving, such as bringing space heaters and blankets to those that lost heat in the winter storm. We also have Bank It and the Blessing Boxes around Alva as prime examples. I am proud of our community and thankful that I have been on the receiving end and that I can give back now.

One of the city's biggest problems is a real need for trust to be rebuilt between the people of Alva and the city leadership. Like many Alvans that have talked with me, I have felt a real divide in our community. This is a priority that the City should tackle first as this directly impacts other issues that the council will face. I have heard it said that people do not feel like they have a voice in Alva's city business, and all citizens in Alva should feel like their voice has been heard and have had the opportunity to be included.

The Alva City Pool has been an issue for the past few years ever since the health department inspected and shut down the pool in August of 2018. The pool needs repairs that primarily come from it not being level because of the foundation sinking. This has caused problems with the guttering, filtration, and chlorine chemical systems. In January of 2019, citizens of Alva filled out surveys provided by the city. Of those that responded, 95% said that we should have a pool provided to the community and in the same location, and 55% said in the survey they did not want to pay for it by additional property taxes. The City made a resolution calling for a $2.5 million bond issue election for Alva's citizens to vote on that did not pass in August.

City leadership created a swimming pool task force, and they held their first meeting in December 2019. The task force composed another survey for Alva's citizens concerning the pool in April 2020. Most citizens responded that the city should repair the pool, the pool's historic features should be preserved, be at the same location, and use all available funding options, including grants. The most recent report from the task force this past January 2021 received assessments from Lamp Rynearson on what repairs are needed. Their next step is to have a second independent firm verify the assessment.

Alva city roads are another ongoing issue. The city gets the asphalt it uses to repair roads from either Enid or Woodward. A large part of the problem is during the hour drive from Enid, the asphalt cannot maintain the correct hot temperature it needs to be. Asphalt must stay at a temperature of around 300 degrees to fix the streets. By the time it reaches Alva, it is not always in a condition to be laid and make a proper street, especially if the weather is anything but sunny. Street repairs have happened in the past few years, but it has not progressed as many Alva citizens have hoped or expected.

For trust to be rebuilt between Alva citizens and the city leadership, I will prioritize being transparent, honest, and bring cooperation to the city council. I will do this by starting with disclosures of what our government is doing as well as keeping our City accountable. I have learned healthy relationships require honest communication, and I believe it is the key to bringing us back together. But I cannot do it alone, and I will need your help both on election day and afterward. We will all need to work together to continue to make Alva the place we want to live.

Concerning the Alva City Pool, this is one of the few remaining structures in Oklahoma built by the WPA that has stood the test of time and has remained in use. Because of its historical nature, I have heard the City of Alva should apply for historical grants to help fund the pool's rehabilitation or reconstruction. However, to qualify for those kinds of grants, the pool must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The best way to accomplish this is to contract with a historic preservation consultant. Many structures and buildings in Alva are not listed that should be, would qualify, and ultimately benefit from being registered as a historic place. To accomplish this, we can have the consultant file more than just the city pool to be cost-efficient. Once established, we can work with an architect specializing in the preservation of aquatic structures that have been through this kind of process before and would know how to do the needed repairs and maintain the historical nature of the pool house.

The city could also qualify for more funding for the pool or other historical places by becoming certified as a Certified Local Government (CLG). We would have to follow steps like making a resolution on how we will preserve our history, name a committee to oversee preservation, establish criteria, and have the City enact the appropriate ordinances. Funds from grants like these may be a small part of the overall needs, but I believe it is the first step that the City should take.

With the city streets, I believe the city street crew is doing the best job they can with what they have. The main issue is the condition of the asphalt when it arrives in Alva. The city needs to have all options considered, such as making asphalt in Alva, having a contractor repair the roads, or looking into an alternative like concrete roads. Our current system is not holding up and is costing us in the long run as we have to repair it year after year. I will evaluate each method with the city council members and community and determine which option will fix our roads.

 

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